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The Historic Pewabic Pottery


The Historic Pewabic Pottery.
Detroit, Michigan


The History of Pewabic Pottery:

Pewabic Pottery is a studio and school located in Detroit, Michigan and founded in 1903. The studio is known for its iridescent glazes, some of which grace notable buildings such as the Shedd Aquarium, and some of which are on display at notable galleries such as the Louvre. The pottery continues in operation today and is a National Historical Landmark.

Visit our Pewabic Art Tile Gallery

Origin and history

The pottery was founded in 1903 by the artist and teacher Mary Chase Perry Stratton and Horace James Caulkins, her partner Caulkins was considered a high-heat and kiln specialist, and developed the "Revelation kiln". Mary Perry Stratton was "the artistic and marketing force. "The collaboration of two and their blend of art and technology gave the pottery its distinctive qualities as Detroit's contribution to the International Arts and Crafts movement.

The word Pewabic is derived from the Ojibwa (or Chippewa) word for the color of copper metal (or perhaps the clay from which copper came) and specifically referring to the "Pewabic" Upper Peninsula copper mine where Ms. Stratton walked with her father. It refers to the unusual irridescent glaze covering the pottery and tiles created in a manner outlined by the International Arts and Crafts Movement. Compare,

In 1991, Pewabic Pottery was designated as a National Historic Landmark. See also, List of National Historic Landmarks in Michigan. Being Michigan's only historic pottery, it continues to operate in a 1907 Tudor Revival building as a non-profit educational institution. They offer classes in ceramics, hold exhibitions, sell pottery made in house and offer design and fabrication services.

Famous works

Pewabic Pottery produces many kinds of hand made decorative objects. They are part of the collections of the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Freer Gallery of Art and the Louvre in Paris. Examples abound in the External Links hereafter.

Architectural pieces have been a staple in Pewabic's history. Under Mary Stratton's leadership, Pewabic Pottery created lamps, vessels, and architectural tiles. They were known for their iridescent (like an oil slick with an incredible translucent quality and a phantasmagoric depth of color) glazes. Architectural tiles were used in aquaria, churches, concert halls, fountains, libraries, museums, schools and public buildings.

The studio's work graces numerous edifices throughout Michigan and the rest of the United States. Noteworthy examples include the Nebraska State Capitol building in Lincoln, the Herald Square in New York, Science Building at Rice University in Houston, Texas, and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. Illinois. Detailed maps of public installations in the Detroit Metropolitan Area and the U.S.A. are available.

Particularly notable was her work at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., consisting of arches outlined with iridescent Pewabic tile, huge ceramic medallions set in the ceiling, and fourteen Stations of the Cross for the crypt.